Memorial Day travel expected to be down

The weather is finally supposed to be nice for the Memorial Day weekend, just in time for the first real beach getaway. AAA released its holiday travel forecast Tuesday.

With high winds and cooler coastal temperatures, few expected Ocean City to be busy this week.

“Being this early in the season there’s already a lot of people here,” says Jackie Grady of Short Gap, W.Va.

The city’s newly-renovated boardwalk was busy with early Memorial Day vacationers.

“I just kind of figured because of Sandy it would be easier to come down here,” says Melanie Tooma of Allentown, Pa.

Businesses in Ocean City may get a bounce this weekend and throughout the summer. The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy has some fearful of travel to Northeast beaches.

“The New Jersey beaches are not up to how they used to be, so I expect a lot of more people from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania and all those areas to come down,” says Meredith Sole of Ocean City.

And AAA officials say while many are still looking to vacation, the steep federal budget cuts are forcing travelers to cut back and opt for less expensive road trips.

AAA predicts 873,000 area resident will travel this holiday weekend, down nearly 2 percent from last year. The group predicts 58,000 are expected to travel by air, down a dramatic 10 percent from last year.

After what’s been some dismal recent Memorial Days in Ocean City, many hope those numbers will add up to a successful summer.

“The summer is what we feed on, so we’re hoping for more business,” says Dara Pappas, a waitress in Ocean City. “We want our restaurant business to thrive. We want more customers.”